Your favorite cocktail just got more expensive
Several forces are conspiring to raise your bar tab.
This post comes from Catey Hill at partner site MarketWatch.
You're not seeing double: Your bar tab really is that big.
Margaritas, screwdrivers and Bloody Mary's are among the cocktails that could become more expensive in coming months. And drinkers can't blame the actual alcohol for that -- thanks to a convergence of factors ranging from weather to bacteria, the price of many of the ingredients in cocktail mixers has jumped.
In general, the prices for fresh fruits — including many used as cocktail mixers — climbed 2.5 percent from January to February this year, compared with just 0.4 percent for food overall. And Vernon Crowder, the senior vice president and senior analyst at Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory, says that fruit prices could continue to climb through the summer.
Take limes and lemons, used in everything from a Long Island iced tea to margaritas (not to mention sour mix). The retail price of limes has jumped 152 percent to $0.53 apiece since last year, according to USDA data. Lemons too have seen a price jump with the cost climbing nearly 41 percent to $0.62 apiece.
For those who like a mimosa or Bloody Mary made with fresh-squeezed juice with brunch, the news isn’t much better. The per pound price for oranges has climbed 27 percent to $1.19 and the price per pound for tomatoes more than 5 percent to $1.30. (The good news: that celery garnish is actually cheaper now than last year.) And wholesale prices on fruits and veggies are also up, so you won’t just feel the sticker shock at the grocery store. "Some bars could raise prices on cocktails with a lot of juice," says IBISWorld analyst Antal Neville.
While those price increases might sound like small numbers, they add up. Let's say you have three margaritas a week, each of which requires the juice of two limes. Assuming lime prices stay as they are now, you’ll spend about $100 more this year on those margaritas than last year. If you like fresh squeezed OJ in your mimosa, that three-a-week habit will cost you about $60 more this year than last, assuming you use the juice of two oranges in each drink.
So what's contributing to a possible increase in your bar tab? Almost all of the limes eaten in this country come from Mexico — and a number of factors there are impacting the price, including snaps of cold weather and violence in one of the major lime-growing regions that's impacting the harvesting and transporting of the limes, says Neville. There was also a bacterium impacting some of the lime trees.
The deep drought in California — the state's Central Valley region producers roughly one third of the produce we eat in this country — plays a role in the rising prices of lemons, oranges and tomatoes, says Neville. "The drought has decreased production significantly," he says.
Indeed, California produces roughly one-third of the fresh tomatoes grown in the U.S., as well as many of the processed tomatoes, says Milt McGiffen, a professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California-Riverside. The state also produces more lemons than any other and trails only Florida in orange production. Plus, lemon prices are being impacted by lower-than-expected numbers of imported lemons and oranges were hit by freezing weather in California, which damaged the crops, says Crowder.
Consumers facing a higher bar tab may want to switch mixers. Soda, for example, tends to often be on special at grocery stores. And the prices for strawberries and grapefruits have remained relatively steady, so a strawberry daiquiri or greyhound may be a worthy switch.
More from MarketWatch
Just have a few at home before you go out. Then nurse that one at the bar = money in the bank !
Glaring error in FIRST sentence! "Bloody Mary's" is POSSESSIVE, not plural!
Does MSN have ANY competent proofreaders or editors???
So of I have a Vodka on the rocks will I pay less or the same for a mixed fruit drink ?
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